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A common problem in designing Nexus 7000 installations is identifying what features are supported with which linecard. Many people are accustomed to the Catalyst 6500 where all of the features are primarily driven from the supervisor while the linecards have limitations of scale. With the Nexus 7000, the features are heavily dependent upon the linecard as the Nexus 7000 is a pure distributed forwarding switch.See Tim Stevenson’s excellent hardware architecture overview of the Nexus 7000 in this year’s Cisco Live presentation BRKARC-3470.

A good understanding of the differences in features is that the classic “M” series is for multiservice solutions like OTV, LISP, and MPLS while the “F” series will be leveraged for access layer enhancements like low port to port latency, FCoE, Fabric Path and Fabric Extenders (FEX).

Hope this helps.

(click on the image for full view while I still figure out how to format)

For those of you looking to upgrade legacy/new Nexus 7000 customers to NXOS 5.2, you’ll want to read the following in the Release Notes: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/datacenter/sw/5_x/nx-os/release/notes/52_nx-os_release_note.html#wp86458

Now, most brand new ( < 9 month old ) hardware orders should include the 8G upgrade memory on the SUP1 as this was a depot enhancement back in November of last year.

Memory Requirements

The Cisco NX-OS software requires 4 GB of memory or 8 GB of memory, depending on the software version you use and the software features you enable.

An 8 GB supervisor memory upgrade kit, N7K-SUP1-8GBUPG=, allows for growth in the features and capabilities that can be delivered in existing Cisco Nexus 7000 Series supervisor modules. The memory upgrade kit is supported on Cisco Nexus 7000 Series systems running Cisco NX-OS Release 5.1 or later releases. Instructions for upgrading to the new memory are available in the “Upgrading Memory for Supervisor Modules” section of the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Hardware Installation and Reference Guide.

The following guidelines can help you determine whether or not to upgrade an existing supervisor module:

•When the system memory usage exceeds 3 GB (75 percent of total memory), we recommend that you upgrade the memory to 8 GB. Use the show system resources command from any VDC context to check the system memory usage:

 
Nexus-7000# show system resources
Load average:   1 minute: 0.47   5 minutes: 0.24   15 minutes: 0.15
Processes   :   959 total, 1 running
CPU states  :   3.0% user,   3.5% kernel,   93.5% idle
Memory usage:   4115776K total,   2793428K used,   1322348K free <-------------

•If you create more than one VDC with XL mode enabled, or if you have more than two VDCs, 8 GB of memory is required.

For additional guidance about whether or not to upgrade a supervisor module to 8 GB of memory, see Figure 1.

Figure 1 Supervisor Memory Upgrade Decision Flowchart

When you insert a supervisor module into a Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switch running Cisco NX-OS Release 5.1(x) or a later release, be aware that one of the following syslog messages will display, depending on the software version and the amount of memory for the supervisor module:

• If you are running Cisco NX-OS Release 5.1(1) or a later release and you have an 8-GB supervisor as the active supervisor and you insert a 4-GB supervisor module as the standby, it will be powered down. A severity 2 syslog message indicates that the memory amounts should be equivalent between the active and the standby supervisor:

2010 Dec 3 00:05:37 switch %$ VDC-1 %$ %SYSMGR-2-SUP_POWERDOWN: Supervisor in slot 10
is running with less memory than active supervisor in slot 9
In this situation, you have the option to upgrade the memory in the 4-GB supervisor or shut down
the system and remove the extra memory from the 8-GB supervisor.

•  If you are running Cisco NX-OS Release 5.1(2) or a later release and you insert a 8-GB supervisor module as the standby, a severity 4 syslog message appears.

2010 Dec  1 23:32:08 switch %SYSMGR-4-ACTIVE_LOWER_MEM_THAN_STANDBY: Active supervisor
in slot 5 is running with less memory than standby supervisor in slot 6.

In this situation, you have the option to remove the extra memory or do a switchover and upgrade the memory in the 4-GB supervisor.